Equestrian Circus

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Equestrian Circus


the oldest form of circus art, in which most of the acts involve performing horses and displays of horsemanship. The equestrian circus originated in horse festivals, equestrian competitions, and riding schools and was the main type of circus in the 18th and 19th centuries. The traditional circus ring, 13-14 m in diameter, came from the equestrian circus.

The art of the equestrian circus combines such events as performance at liberty (when the trainer gives orders to the horses with a whip, a riding crop, his hand, or his voice); dressage; horseback acrobatics; trick riding; all types of acrobatics, dancing, and balancing on horseback; mimic acts; comic acts with the horses (horse clowning); and pantomimes that include skits with the horses. Twentieth-century circus programs are no longer dominated by equestrian acts, although they include at least one. Among the most outstanding performers in the Russian and Soviet equestrian circus have been Chinizelli, A. Salamonskii, N. A. Nikitin, M. N. and D. M. Tuganov, the Efimovs, Manzheli, Lapiado, and the Kantemirovs.


Kuznetsov, E. Tsirk. Moscow-Leningrad, 1931.
Dmitriev, lu. Sovetskii tsirk. Moscow, 1963.
Dmitriev, lu. Sovetskii tsirk segodnia. Moscow, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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